IATC Online Conference

May 28, 2020 1:54:35 PM IST
MTG editorial

The International Association of Theatre Critics has organized an international conference

Redefining the Performing Arts in Times of the Corona Pandemic

Friday May 29
10 a.m. US, Chicago time, 17 p.m., Central Europe Time, 20 p.m. Indian time

Speakers at the interactive live-streamed conference are:

Cecilia Djurberg (Sweden), Chris Jones (USA), Savas Patsalidis (Greece), Rui Pina Coelho (Portugal), Deepa Punjani (India), Vikram Phukan (India), Rita Sebestyen (United Kingdom), Margareta Sorenson (Sweden). Moderator/host: Ivan Medenica (Serbia).

The theatre art all around the world is still in lookdown due to the coronavirus pandemics. While waiting for the protocols which will allow gatherings both on stages and in auditoriums, theatres are searching for alternative ways to make and/or present shows, i.e., to exist. One of the widespread means of this alternative existence is online transmission or streaming of performances. This practice raises, first of all, serious questions regarding the aesthetical essence of the theatre.

Furthermore, it raises a question as to how criticism should react to this phenomenon of the online theatre that could, for a while, remain the only existential mode of performing arts in general. We propose a few topics/questions to be discussed regarding this issue.

• Can theatre broadcasted on TV or YouTube channels, or live-streamed, be considered theatre at all? Are there performing arts without an intense interaction, on the level of body, energy, spirit, and mind, between performers and spectators in a live event?

• Do we make a distinction between theatre which is transmitted online/live-streamed and a digital theatre, the one in which digital procedures are an integral element (with the Internet chat rooms as stages and avatars as performers, for example)?

• How does criticism react to the recordings and live-streaming of the theatre? Is writing about this experience theatre criticism at all (when we don’t experience the energy, atmosphere and other qualities of a live performance and our perception is shaped by recordings)?

• Why is this method of analysis (based on recording/streaming of shows) appropriate for theatre studies but questionable in case of theatre criticism?

• Is there a difference between writing about a recording, and about a live-streamed show?

• Are there some new, inventive, interactive, "digital" practices of writing about online transmission or streaming of theatre performances?

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